With all the mayhem happening in the world today, it is difficult to remain loving to everyone. There are constant reports of terrorist attacks, school shootings, police abuses and killing of policemen.
Truth be told, these are difficult times for the most ardent Christian and other people with a heart. Matthew 24:12, “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold,” seems to be speaking about what is happening now. It is easy to find yourself hating people of other faiths or nationalities in these troubling times.
I often remind myself that Christ sent his son to die for sinners. His love for sinners and his capacity for forgiveness are immense. Take comfort in this and know that he is with you and will provide the strength you need to forgive even those among us who seem irredeemable.
One common emotion people experience now is fear. Learning to overcome fear is a good step in learning how to remain both hopeful and loving in this violent world. The Bible is filled with guidance on how to overcome fear. The blog post 14 Verses to Give You Strength in Times of Worry or Fear is worth reading to help you get over the fears that can cripple our interactions.
Everyone has different ways of coping with the wars, strife, and senseless killings that fill media reports. However, I hope that some of these ideas will help you regain your focus and come to a place where you can hear God’s voice amidst the melee.
Remember that faith and hope are intertwined: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). We hope for peace, and so in having faith and believing that God always delivers even when it seems like everything is going wrong, we know that these violent times will pass.
Listen to your favorite music or song. This may be a Christian song that lifts your spirits or renews your hope and faith that this is all temporary.
When the bad thoughts and grief threaten to overwhelm you, tune in to some inspirational music to soothe your heart. I have found that classical music as well as popular gospels help me handle distressing world news. Music soothes my worries away.
Some Bible verses are great for helping us regain our sense of hope and peace. A simple search of the internet for Bible verses dealing with hope and faith is a good start. When faced with evil, Luke 6:35 is a constant source of encouragement. Read it slowly and let it sink in.
“But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For he is kind to the unthankful and evil.”
This verse is great for those times when you find it hard to love those who are unkind and even vicious. Jesus is quite clear on the dangers of hating others. 1 John 3:15 states, “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” Each time there is news of a mass murder, this verse brings peace. It is hard sometimes, but after praying, it helps to take away the desire to hate.
Few things can restore your sense of worth and give you hope like prayer. This doesn’t mean that you have to spend a long time talking to God. Your prayer can be as simple as saying, “God, help me to see the good in others today.” It can be a matter of talking to God in quiet moments to help keep you grounded.
Everyday Sights and Action
One fairly straightforward way to remain hopeful and loving is to look around at the simple acts of kindness that are not broadcast. Do the news reports of police excesses make you feel sick or sad? Then focus on the police officers who are kind and respectful; the ones who, despite the dangers of the job, still try to serve and protect.
Look out for the acts of kindness and you will see that there really is still a lot of good in this world. A smile at a total stranger can lighten a sad heart. Just saying good morning as you pass each other can go a long way in making it easier to keep going.
It is important as well to help others and develop a spirit of compassion within yourself. Sometimes it is through giving and comforting others that we retain our spirituality and closeness to Christ.
Charity work and playing a role in church are ways in which we can give and help others to keep their faith amidst the storms of raging around us. “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels” (Hebrews 13:2).
It is also a means of allowing others to see that there is still kindness and love and hope for a better tomorrow. In giving of self, that “…the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7), can bring us closer to him and enable us to remember to pray without ceasing.
Control the News Intake
This may seem like a drastic step, but reducing the amount of negative news you hear daily can help to restore your faith in people. Limit the amount of news you watch daily, and if possible, change your settings on the Internet to prevent negative and sad news from clogging your news feed on Facebook for instance.
Never take your eyes off Jesus. Once you do, the depressing things happening around you will slowly take hold of your heart. If we become discouraged, stop loving others and lose hope, then we will in effect be stopping the power of God’s goodness in our lives.
Remember Peter in Matthew 14:28-30? As soon as he took his eyes off Jesus (that is, he started to focus on the situation around him) he started to sink. It is the same with us, to remain hopeful and to prevent hatred from taking hold; we need to focus on the goodness of God.
As the Bible says, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).